Cirrus Design will offer its Garmin-based “Perspective” avionics system in SR20 aircraft. Previously, the integrated avionics suite that includes synthetic vision was only available in high-end SR22 aircraft. Cirrus also will add an infrared “enhanced vision” option in all its Perspective-equipped aircraft.
“Synthetic vision changes the way your mind thinks about flying,” said Cirrus co-founder Alan Klapmeier. “It vastly enhances situational awareness and improves safety. You know there’s a mountain on your right, so you don’t go there.”
A new SR20 with Perspective will carry a retail price of $269,900--about half the price of a turbo-charged SR22 with similar avionics. The SR20s have the same fuselage and internal dimensions as SR22s but carry smaller, normally aspirated engines rated at 200 horsepower instead of the 310 hp in SR22s.
The SR20 received its FAA certification 10 years ago, but faster, higher-flying SR22s have dominated sales. About 80 percent of the more than 4,000 Cirrus aircraft sold to date have been SR22s.
Vision flight tests
Klapmeier also said flight tests on the company’s single-engine, five-seat Vision jet are going extremely well. The V-tailed jet has logged more than 100 flight-test hours since its July 3 first flight, and it’s living up to its design goals of a 300 ktas cruise speed and a range of more than 1,000 nm.
“The project is really going well,” Klapmeier said. “Nothing’s gone wrong. The pilots are having a blast.”
Production planes will have one entry door instead of the two on the prototype, a slightly pointier nose, and larger vertical tails with slightly less sweep. The changes are meant to increase low-speed stability and handling.
Cirrus has collected deposits on more than 400 jets.
LSA progress slows
Cirrus is focusing its efforts on the Vision and has slowed development of its light sport aircraft, known as the SRS, but still hopes to have a production version flying by the end of 2009.
“The jet comes first,” Klapmeier said. “Some of the resources for the SRS have been redirected.”